Man about the house - tim ross

Some months ago i managed to wrangle some tickets to see Tim Ross do his stand up comedy tour, it was a wonderful evening of comedy mixed with architecture & music in the cosy surrounds of one of Melbourne's more recent residential architectural icons "The Brick House"

I wandered down a side street in Prahran one Friday night looking for a house I knew little about to see a man I knew little about perform a show I knew little about. It was my love of architecture & comedy that drew me in. The man about the house that night was the one and only Tim Ross a man whose stint on Triple J back in my early adult years has become somewhat of a mainstay in my memories. Maybe some of you remember with utter delight the humour both he & Merrick Watts created on their afternoon show, I know I do.... I guess that's why I was there, to relive a part of my youth that was so heavily imprinted on me and to soak in the architecture around me.

The evening started with some acoustic songs full of drive and passion from talented musician "Kit Warhurst" his music was able to relax the crowd in readiness for the humorous antics of Tim Ross, who commanded the audience like an architect commands the drawing board, Take a dash of architecture, a pinch of his personal life journey & a splash of bad dancing , throw it all together and you have the wonderful comedic styling a of Tim Ross.

Mixed in with stories from his childhood & a clear infatuation with mid century architecture and the sheer love of the fact he travels Australia & the world.... Well Palm Springs... And plays his show in architectural icons you can't help but have admiration for the man who admits in his show he's doing what he loves & it's clear to see that's true in the way the show comes across.

The show finished with a tribute to "The Boss" & his drummer and some purposefully bad rapping and "white man dancing" which throws the room into fits of laughter and is the perfect way to end the evening.

People mill around afterwards chatting with both Kit & Tim and continue to soak in the beauty of the architecture that is "The Brick House" designed by Claire Cousins before slowly making their way out the front door back up that dimly lit side street and home.

That being said there were unanswered questions, questions that needed answering and answered they were by The Man About The House himself.

Where does your love of MCM Architecture stem from?

"As a kid growing up in Mt.Eliza I noticed all the brilliant houses designed & built by Roy Grounds, Chancellor and Patrick, Robin Boyd, Kevin Borland and a host of others who followed a similar style. These Architects believed they could build a better world through great design and they certainly built a better suburb."

Having worked in comedy & on radio for so many years where did the idea for Man About The House come from?

"I wanted to really expand my passion for architecture and inspiring spaces. I knew that there were people out there who felt the same way and would love to see an interesting show in a great venue (particularly one that they may not always be able to visit.)

I obviously wanted to tell stories but I also wanted to add music and do that with Kit Warhurst who is my best mate. 

Three years later and we have performed in some incredible spaces all over the world. What has the reception of your show been like since you began presenting in this format?

The shows always seem to get a great crowd and a really enthusiastic response. People love the concept and the message of the show which is all about preservation of Modernist homes."

 You've held some shows in some iconic buildings in America recently, how did that come about & what was the experience like?

"We were asked to attend Modernism Week in Palm Springs and they loved the show and have asked us back again. 

I loved the opportunity to perform in a John Lautner Hotel and also a stunning private residence by 1960s Hollywood architect Hal Levitt.

Next year we will head back to the US and to Europe for some shows."

 With your keen interest in architecture i am curious to know where you see the future of heritage protection with regards to post war & MCM architecture heading?

"We are getting better and certainly we are in a better position than we were ten years ago but we have a long way to go and the councils undoubtable need to lift their game and update their Heritage parameters. 

The real challenge for MCM homes is to adapt to modern needs. This needs to happen via people understanding their need to be protected and also in the way that we extend them and use them today. I can happily live in an original 1950s house but I know that I’m not like most Australians. We need to make them work in a modern context with interesting and sympathetic reuse. What buildings of the era speak to you the most? 

I love them all. They all have charm. Anything that drips history from any era can engage with me."

You live in an MCM house yourself, who designed it, what work have you done to it & what is it like living in the house? 

"It was built In 1959 and designed by Bill Baker. I have updated some 80s era bathrooms and basically returned it to it’s 1959 state wherever possible. The house is absolutely brilliant. It is a light filled house which smiles at us on a daily basis."

If you have a passion for architecture and comedy then catching one of Tim Ross's "Man About The House" shows is a must, if not for the comedy & music then for the amazing architecture the shows are set in.


Instagram @modernister

Touring Man About The House in 2015

November 12 Heide II Melb.

November 13 Doll's House Melbourne

November 15 Kennedy Nolan Office Melbourne.

Nov 25 Roy Grounds Dome Canberra.